Telstra job cuts: We need to 'transform urgently'

The 1,400 jobs being axed from Telstra will be across its Operations, Retail, GES, and Media and Marketing business segments, with the CEO outlining a series of proposed changes and restructures.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Telstra CEO Andy Penn has announced that the 1,400 job cuts revealed earlier on Wednesday will affect its Operations, Retail, Global Enterprise and Services (GES), and Media and Marketing business segments.

Speaking on Wednesday afternoon, Penn said the jobs are going in a bid to improve customer service, reduce operational costs, and increase its capacity to compete.

"These changes are all part of an organisation-wide restructure," Penn said on Sky.

According to an email sent to Telstra employees by Penn on Wednesday and sighted by ZDNet, digitisation has caused "significant challenges, as technology is disrupting our own operations", with Telstra needing to "transform urgently".

Penn also attributed the restructure to the rollout of Australia's National Broadband Network (NBN) and the AU$2 billion to AU$3 billion earnings gap it will cause for Telstra, as well as overall "increased competitive pressures".

"We will need to become a leaner organisation, one built on digitised systems and services for customers and employees," Penn wrote.

"We are consulting with our people on proposed changes that would ultimately result in up to 1,400 roles no longer being required over the next six months. This impacts positions from most parts of the business, at all levels of seniority and from all states and territories, and, in some cases, internationally."

Penn also revealed a series of proposed changes in his letter to Telstra employees, the first of which involves a new organisational structure for its Networks, NBN and Commercial Delivery, IT and Digital Solutions, and Customer Service Management businesses.

Telstra will also change its Telstra Retail business name to Telstra Consumer and Small Business and create three core divisions within this arm called Customer Experience and Transformation; Telstra Products; and Consumer and Small Business Sales and Service.

The third change will see its GES arm changed to "Telstra Enterprise", with an implementation of a new sales and service model within the business to improve customer experience by combining sales and services into one team.

Under the fourth proposed change, Telstra Business will be broken apart, with the Premier Business customer segment and its related teams to move to Enterprise, and the Small Business customer segment to move to a Consumer and Small Business arm.

Lastly, Telstra will combine its domestic and international marketing teams for Enterprise and make changes to its Media team in order to "focus more on the customer and be more agile".

Penn pointed out that while some jobs will no longer exist, new roles will be created across digitisation, software, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

Telstra had earlier on Wednesday confirmed that changes in its business would impact the jobs of 1,400 staff members, with a spokesperson telling ZDNet that the company is taking around 1,400 employees "through some changes".

The cuts follow Telstra confirming in August that it was considering cutting 204 jobs in its Global Finance Services business across business intelligence and analytics services, operational billing, credit services, and accounting.

"We constantly review the way we work to simplify our business and remove duplication. These proposed changes would consolidate some work because we are standardise [sic] our reporting and processes," a Telstra spokesperson said at the time, adding that 35 current vacant Services Operations roles could also be removed entirely.

In July last year, Telstra additionally cut 326 jobs, saying it would "remove duplication" in its customer service solution, and would "increase slightly the amount of work done by our partners overseas", with work types to be consolidated across Australia and the Philippines.

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